I have the misfortune of living in Melksham for most of my life, and I was genuinely surprised that it not received the honour (or dishonour!) of appearing on this list. Lying in between the equally deplorable town of Chippenham and Trowbridge, Melksham is sadly another example of how decades of decline and social issues have transformed many Wiltshire towns into rundown relics of a bygone era.
What can I say? Melksham is a boring, decaying, grimy and downright depressing hovel of a town populated by a motley crew of dysfunctional families, burly white van men, aggressive undisciplined kids, depressed OAPs, sneering boy racers, mentally ill outcasts, all watched over by a completely out of touch town council who have stood by and allowed 20+ years of neglect and poor decisions to transform the town into a complete backwater. The town has never been the nicest place to live, but the past decade has seen a steady decline in appearance, with the town centre (never an inspiring place to begin with) resembling a dying mess of salons, barbers, kebab shops, antique dealers, and the obligatory poundshops. There are no decent bars or pubs. No restaurants. No decent retailers. The two banks that once stood in the centre and have long since closed down. And the shambling remains of the tyre factory that once served as the beating heart of the town, is now on the verge of closing down, which will presumably serve as the final nail in the coffin of this awful place.
Complicit in this decline is the always dunderheaded machinations of Wiltshire Council, who despite claiming that they have not enough money to carry out redevelopment, appear to muster enough of what remains and continually erect completely faceless, sprawling housing estates around Melksham, expanding it ever further outwards like a cancer consuming all in its path. Life is so uninspiring here, that it is little wonder that Melksham has become a breeding ground for anti-social behaviour, particularly among kids and teenagers who frequently vandalise anything they can get their vape-scented claws upon.
The epicentre of this is the sprawling Forest estate in the north of Melksham, a labyrinth of terraced houses that has been blighted by alcoholism, drugs, petty crime, and violence. Driving through here is so uncomfortable, that you’ll surely want to lock your car doors tight, especially at night.
Fortunately at the time of writing this I will be moving down to Devon, allowing me to finally escape this purgatorial dump of a town. Advice to those who are curious, do not visit this place at all, there is nothing of the slightest interest here!